The Q&A Archives: weed and grass killer

Question: how do i fix a lawn that has been damaged/killed by weed and grass killer? I dont even know where to begin...

Answer: The good news is that most herbicides degrade in the presence of sunlight and fresh air. Just how long this might take depends upon the quantity applied. If a vegetation killer such as Round Up was used, it should degrade in just a couple of weeks. If something stronger was used or if an excessive amount was used, it may sterilize the soil for several months. Let's hope for the best.... Start with a small test area. Rake out the dead grass and roughen up the soil, then broadcast grass seed over the top and cover it with a light layer of peat moss to help keep the grass seeds moist. If the soil's okay, the seed should sprout in 7-10 days if you keep the seeds moist (water several times a day if needed to keep the seeds from drying out). Give the grass another week to grow and send its roots down into the soil. If it is still alive two weeks after sowing, the soil should be rid of the herbicide residue and it will be safe to reseed the entire area. Just rake out the debris and loosen or roughen up the soil surface, then broadcast your seeds. If the new grass dies out right away, inspite of being watered regularly, the soil still has herbicide residue. In this case you'll want to dig or rototill the soil to expose it to sunshine and fresh air. Wait a couple of weeks and try a test strip of grass seeds again. If the seeds grow healthy grass you can level the area and broadcast fresh seeds over the entire lawn area. Wish there were an easier way to reclaim your lawn!

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